Dead Television: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron

T-Bone (Top) and Razor (Bottom) - The coolest cats of the 90's! #NoApologies
T-Bone (Top) and Razor (Bottom) – The coolest cats of the 90’s! #NoApologies

So, in light of a recent Kickstarter Campaign, I thought I’d talk about one of the coolest cartoons of the 90’s, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. Produced by Hanna-Barbera (yes, THAT Hanna-Barbera), the show ran from September 11, 1993 to January 6, 1995, and contrary to what a certain episode of Steven Universe tells you, the show originated from TBS rather than Cartoon Network, but it did air in reruns on Cartoon Network around the late 90’s/early 00’s.

The series follows Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, two cadets in the Megakat City Military Police, The Enforcers, that is until the two go on dogfight against a criminal and was ordered by their commanding officer, Ulysses Feral to stand down, but it was too late, and they fired their missile against him, destroying their newly built headquarters in the process. Afterwards, Feral discharges Chance and Jake, and the two get jobs at a military junkyard to pay for damages. While working at the junkyard, Chance and Jake notice that people throw away alot of useful things, and decide to build their own high tech weapons, and gear. With their new weapons and their jet, the TuboKat, Chance and Jake, (who also go by T-Bone and Razor, respectively) go out to fight various villains in Megakat City, with help from Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs, Feral’s niece Felina, even Feral helps the Kats, usually when the situation demands it.

This was an outstanding show, it characters were awesome, the villains were cool, and the action sequences were just the cherry on top of an incredible show. Speaking of, the show’s artistic design was amazing, the show’s creators, The Trembly Brothers (Christian and Yvon) were clearly influenced by anime when making this show, this is given even more precedence, once Season 2 rolled around, and the animation was outsource to Japanese company Mook Studios, this is basically what happened to the Marvel Action Hour/Universe in the 90’s, but the retool made the Iron Man and Fantastic Four go from lousy to great, and made SWAT Kats go from great to INCREDIBLE!

Sadly, just like the Iron Man and Fantastic Four, the show canceled after Season 2, unlike the aforementioned shows, SWAT Kats wasn’t cancelled from bad ratings. It was never made clear why the show was canceled, but the most popular choices stem from, being too expensive to produce, and being too violent, there’s never been an official answer, and Turner/Time Warner likes to keep quiet about this show. A lot of people who’ve covered the show in the past and recently have said that if the show premiered on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block, it would’ve stood a chance, and I agree with that theory.

The show was released on VHS after the show’s cancelation, with three videos containing two episodes. In late 2010, the series was given a DVD release through the Warner Archive online service. The Warner Archive service is a Manufacture-On-Demand video service, using the best quality master tapes, and burning them to DVD-R discs, allowing some of less than prominent movies to get some form of limelight. I’ve never ordered anything from the service, so I can’t really go either pro or con or recommend it, but it’s the best we can do so, millage may vary on the DVD set.

Now let’s get to the real reason why I decided to review the show, back in July, series creators, the Tremblay Brothers started a Kickstater campaign to create a revival of the show, called SWAT Kats: Revolution, they requested $50,000 and ended with $141,000, slightly more than enough for a 2 minute teaser. I, like everyone who supported the Kickstarter, I’m very excited for the pilot, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t know about it sooner. Though, I am curious as to who they’re going to get to replace Gary Owens (Feral), Brock Peters (Dark Kat), and Keene Curtis (Pastmaster) since all three actors passed away, with Owens passing earlier this year.

RANK: 5 out of 5

Next time, a top 10 list about heroes who fight for their freedom, their beliefs, their home, and their destiny.


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